Alban Home Inspection Service

 About Residential
Oil Tanks

A home inspector can review the following items, if the tank is visible and accessible: 

Tank exterior - should be inspected for leaking seams, excessive rust, and patching.

Oil fill and vent piping - the piping should be leak-free and tight, and it should drain freely into the tank. There may also be a whistle installed that signals the delivery person when the tank is full. 

Tank plugs and piping - should be tightly in place. 

Tank ventilation - the tank should be properly vented (1.5" to 2" diameter piping) to the outside. During fill, fuel is delivered at a rate of 60 gallons per minute. Improper venting will cause stress on the seams and piping. 

Vent caps - should be in place, and capped with a screened, weather-resistant cap to prevent water entry and clogging. 

Vent location - is the vent next to the filler? When the vent is properly located, the delivery person can listen to the vent alarm and determine when the tank is full. The alarm prevents overfilling and is recommended for all types of tanks. The alarm is usually mounted at the top of the tank at the vent pipe opening. 

Fill gauge - should be installed and tight. Loose gauges can cause spills during tank operations.

Tank support - are the support legs firmly on the ground? Is there other support in place? A support system may be required by local ordinance.

Abandoned/Removed tanks - have all fill pipes on abandoned tanks been completely removed from the building to prevent delivery mistakes or spills? All old tanks should be clearly marked "Abandoned; Do Not Fill." The homeowner should also keep record of the tank history. Tanks should be kept relatively full in the spring and fall, as the extra weight helps prevent shifting and the related piping leaks. This will also reduce water in the fuel, preventing a loss of heat from condensation.



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Older Homes (11 to 20 years) 
During this period, rotted wood, sealants,
roofing shingles, and cosmetic surfaces may need to be repaired or replaced. Original appliances may also be nearing the end of their serviceable life span.
Very Old Homes (20 to 40 years)
The inspector should be looking carefully
at the foundation when a home reaches this age. Movement is also possible in the floors, walls, and ceilings. Major systems and components, such as HVAC and roofing, may need to be replaced. Attention should also be paid to the electrical and plumbing fixtures, which will be showing their age.
Historic and
Architecturally Significant Homes 
Historic homes may contain significant 
structural problems. The construction techniques used in these dwellings may be outdated as well. Fireplaces may no longer be safely operational, while mortar may be failing. Common problems with older homes include settling, binding doors, inadequate electrical and heating components, inadequate insulation and inoperable windows. A home inspector may find the need for extensive and expensive repair, upgrades, and restoration.




Note: This newsletter is for informational purposes only. When getting involved with a project, please work within your ability. If you need help with a contractor or with any other home-related issue, please contact Alban Home Inspection Service with any questions. Thank You.

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